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Review for Armed Services YMCA San Diego , San Diego, CA, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

I have been a member of the Board of Management for over 30 years. During that time I have had an opportunity to work closely with the staff and volunteers of the San Diego Armed Services YMCA. They are hard-working, thoughtful, compassionate people. I have been especially honored to work on the Christmas You Missed program which recreates Christmas on July 25th for those service members and their families who were not able to spend the previous Christmas together because the service member was on a deployment. It is a heartwarming celebration to let these families know that the San Diego community appreciates the sacrifices our military members make on behalf of their country. I support the San Diego ASYMCA as a volunteer and a financial contributor.

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Role:  Board Member

Review for Armed Services YMCA San Diego , San Diego, CA, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

Over 30 years ago a good friend and mentor told me about the work he was doing with the San Diego Armed Services YMCA. Since I was working with for an organization that provided financial assistance and counseling for Navy and Marine Corps families, the SDASYMCA was a perfect fit because they also provide direct services and programs to young military families. I quickly became aware of how caring the staff was at helping these families cope with the stresses of separation from their military member because of extended and multiple deployments. As a volunteer and Board member, I have seen first hand how ASYMCA programs help families with in-home counseling by trained counselors, help with gift cards for food and gas, respite child care, car seats, cribs, and diapers. They help families learn problem-solving skills and improve their marriage and parenting skills. I've been involved in other programs like Christmas You Missed that recreates Christmas Day every June 25th for families separated by deployment on the previous December 25th. Operation Hero builds self-esteem in young children faced with relocation to new schools and neighborhoods as well as coping with the absence of a parent. Operation Kid Comfort provides a personalized family quilt to every child in the family with favorite pictures of the military parent. All of these programs are free of charge. For over 30 years I've watched Executive Directors and staff members retire and move on, but the caring and exceptional skill with which the staff meets the needs of this special group of Americans never changes. It just gets better. My friend and mentor died over a year ago and the Paul Hartley Outreach Complex was named after him. I will continue on as a volunteer dedicated to making life easier for military families.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

listening to clients whom I referred to this organization report on the positive quality of the help they received. I could help my clients with financial assistance and counseling but the SDASYMCA provided expert counseling and support.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

provide more office and storage space.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

attending meetings high level professionals who are donating their time as Board Members of this organization and learning about the accomplishments of the staff and their successes.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

truly exceptional people. They are well trained and highly motivated. Both staff and volunteers are energetic and focused on serving their clients in new and innovative ways.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

expand their programs and increase the numbers of professional staff. They could afford to provide greater professional enhancement and training. They could reach more people and enhance the quality of life for for more military families.

Ways to make it better...

I could be more involved.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

more advanced fund raising expertise. Finding Board Members with willingness and skill in promoting a corporate fund raising effort to make up for the impending loss of major income from the leasing of property belonging to the organization.

One thing I'd also say is that...

it is a privilege and inspiration to work with an organization that is providing such tangible and rewarding support to those who are in the Armed Services.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?


Role:  Board Member & I served on the Finance and Executive Committees, wrote letters to invite friends to contribute, and volunteered with programs like Christmas You Missed and Valentine's Day parties for families of deployed service members.